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Ringer's lactate solution

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Ringer's lactate solution
A bottle of Ringer's lactate solution
Clinical data
Other namescompound sodium lactate, sodium lactate solution, Hartmann's solution, Ringer-Locke's solution, Ringer-lactate, lactated Ringer's solution (LRS)
AHFS/Drugs.comFDA Professional Drug Information
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Routes of
intravenous, topical, subcutaneous
ATC code

Ringer's lactate solution (RL), also known as sodium lactate solution, Lactated Ringer's, and Hartmann's solution, is a mixture of sodium chloride, sodium lactate, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride in water.[1] It is used for replacing fluids and electrolytes in those who have low blood volume or low blood pressure.[2] It may also be used to treat metabolic acidosis and to wash the eye following a chemical burn.[2][3] It is given by intravenous infusion or applied to the affected area.[2][3]

Side effects may include allergic reactions, high blood potassium, hypervolemia, and high blood calcium.[2] It may not be suitable for mixing with certain medications and some recommend against use in the same infusion as a blood transfusion.[4] Ringer's lactate solution has a lower rate of acidosis as compared with normal saline.[1][4] Use is generally safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding.[2] Ringer's lactate solution is in the crystalloid family of medications.[5] It is isotonic, i.e. it has the same tonicity as blood.[2]

Ringer's solution was invented in the 1880s; lactate was added in the 1930s.[4] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.[6] Lactated Ringer's is available as a generic medication.[1] For people with liver dysfunction, Ringer's acetate may be a better alternative with the lactate replaced by acetate.[7] In Scandinavia Ringer's acetate is typically used.[8]

Medical uses[edit]

Ringer's lactate solution is commonly used for fluid resuscitation after blood loss due to trauma, or surgery.[9][10]

It is extensively used in aggressive volume resuscitation, e.g. for patients with pancreatitis, hemorrhagic shock or major burn injuries.[10] Since the lactate is converted into bicarbonate, caution should be used as patients may become alkalotic.[11] In acidotic states, such as in acute kidney failure, Ringer's lactate solution may be advantageous as the byproducts of lactate metabolism in the liver counteract the acidosis.[12] In a large-volume resuscitation over several hours, Ringer's lactate solution maintains a more stable blood pH than normal saline.[4]

Ringer's lactate and other crystalloid fluids are also used as vehicles for the intravenous (IV) delivery of medications.[10]


One liter of Ringer's lactate solution contains:[13]

Ringer's lactate has an osmolarity of 273 mOsm L−1[14] and a pH of 6.5.[10] The lactate is metabolized into bicarbonate by the liver, which can help correct metabolic acidosis. Ringer's lactate solution alkalinizes via its consumption in the citric acid cycle, the generation of a molecule of carbon dioxide which is then excreted by the lungs. They increase the strong ion difference in solution, leading to proton consumption and an overall alkalinizing effect.[15]

The solution is formulated to have concentrations of potassium and calcium that are similar to the ionized concentrations found in normal blood plasma. To maintain electrical neutrality, the solution has a lower level of sodium than that found in blood plasma or normal saline.[4]

Generally, the source of the constituent ions is a mixture of sodium chloride (NaCl), sodium lactate (CH3CH(OH)CO2Na), calcium chloride (CaCl2), and potassium chloride (KCl), dissolved into distilled water. Ringer's solution has the same constituents without the sodium lactate, though sometimes it may also include magnesium chloride (MgCl2).[16][17]

There are slight variations for the composition for Ringer's as supplied by different manufacturers. As such, the term Ringer's lactate should not be equated with one precise formulation.[18]


Ringer's saline solution was invented in the early 1880s by Sydney Ringer,[4] a British physician and physiologist. Ringer was studying the beating of an isolated frog heart outside of the body. He hoped to identify the substances in blood that would allow the isolated heart to beat normally for a time.[19] The use of Ringer's original solution of inorganic salts slowly became more popular.[4] In the 1930s, the original solution was further modified by American pediatrician Alexis Hartmann for the purpose of treating acidosis. Hartmann added lactate, which mitigates changes in pH by acting as a buffer for acid. Thus the solution became known as "Ringer's lactate solution" or "Hartmann's solution".[4][20]


Ringer's solution technically refers only to the saline component, without lactate. Some countries instead use a Ringer's acetate solution or Ringer-acetate, which has similar properties. This was thought to be helpful when analyzing blood-lactate for signs of anaerobic metabolism (e.g. present with septic shock, hypovolemic shock). Subsequently, it has been shown that lactate is metabolized much faster than infused.[21] Ringers lactate should not cause an elevated blood-lactate level except possibly in the most severe presentations of liver failure.[citation needed]

Veterinary use[edit]

It is used for the treatment or palliative care of chronic kidney failure in small animals. The solution can be administered intravenously or subcutaneously. Administering the fluids subcutaneously allows the solution to be readily given to the animal by a trained layperson, as it is not required that a vein be located. The solution is slowly absorbed from beneath the skin into the bloodstream of the animal.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c British national formulary: BNF 69 (69 ed.). British Medical Association. 2015. p. 683. ISBN 9780857111562.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Compound Sodium Lactate Solution for Infusion - Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) - (eMC)". www.medicines.org.uk. February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b Krieglstein GK (2000). Atlas of Ophthalmology. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 377. ISBN 9783540780694. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Marino PL, Sutin KM (2012). The ICU Book (3rd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 363. ISBN 9781451161557. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017.
  5. ^ Saade GR, Foley MR, Phelan III JP, Dildy GA (2010). Critical Care Obstetrics. John Wiley & Sons. p. 70. ISBN 9781444396140. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017.
  6. ^ World Health Organization (2019). World Health Organization model list of essential medicines: 21st list 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization. hdl:10665/325771. WHO/MVP/EMP/IAU/2019.06. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
  7. ^ Marino PL (2013). Marino's The ICU Book (4 ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 223. ISBN 9781469831640. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017.
  8. ^ Bjarby J. "Vätsketerapi för AT/ST läkare KSS — 'Rehydration therapy for interns and specialists, KSS'" (PDF). Västragötalandsregionen. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  9. ^ Pestana C (7 April 2020). Pestana's Surgery Notes (Fifth ed.). Kaplan Medical Test Prep. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-1506254340. The treatment of hemorrhagic shock in the urban setting (big trauma center nearby)...starts with the surgical intervention to stop the bleeding, and volume replacement takes place afterward. In all other settings, volume replacement is the first step, starting with about 2 L of Ringer's lactate (without sugar), and followed by blood (packed red cells)
  10. ^ a b c d Singh S, Kerndt CC, Davis D (2021). "Ringer's Lactate". StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. PMID 29763209. Retrieved 14 July 2021. Ringer's lactate is largely used in aggressive volume resuscitation from blood loss or burn injuries
  11. ^ B. Braun Medical Inc. "Human Prescription Drug Label: Lactated Ringers (sodium chloride, sodium lactate, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride) injection, solution". DailyMed. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. ADVERSE REACTIONS [...] although the metabolism of lactate to bicarbonate is a relatively slow process, aggressive administration of sodium lactate may result in metabolic alkalosis. Careful monitoring of blood acid-base balance is essential during the administration of sodium lactate.
  12. ^ "Lactated Ringer's (sodium chloride, sodium lactate, potassium chloride and calcium chloride) Injection". DailyMed. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010.
  13. ^ Ogbru D (21 October 2022). Davis CP (ed.). "Lactated Ringer's Solution: Uses, Side Effects & Dosage". MedicineNet. WebMD. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  14. ^ Williams EL, Hildebrand KL, McCormick SA, Bedel MJ (May 1999). "The effect of intravenous lactated Ringer's solution versus 0.9% sodium chloride solution on serum osmolality in human volunteers". Anesthesia and Analgesia. 88 (5): 999–1003. doi:10.1213/00000539-199905000-00006. PMID 10320158.
  15. ^ Kaplan LJ, Frangos S (April 2005). "Clinical review: Acid-base abnormalities in the intensive care unit -- part II" (PDF). Critical Care. 9 (2). London, England: 198–203. doi:10.1186/cc2912. PMC 1175905. PMID 15774078.
  16. ^ "Ringer's Solutions". Biological Bulletin Compendia Notes. Marine Biological Laboratory. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  17. ^ Manivasagam G, Dhinasekaran D, Rajamanickam A (May 2010). "Biomedical implants: corrosion and its prevention-a review". Recent Patents on Corrosion Science. 2 (1). doi:10.2174/1877610801002010040. Retrieved 10 June 2018 – via Research Gate. Table 3. Composition of Ringer's Solution
  18. ^ "Search Results lactated ringer". DailyMed. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012.
  19. ^ Miller DJ (March 2004). "Sydney Ringer; physiological saline, calcium and the contraction of the heart". The Journal of Physiology. 555 (Pt 3): 585–587. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2004.060731. PMC 1664856. PMID 14742734.
  20. ^ White SA, Goldhill DR (May 1997). "Is Hartmann's the solution?". Anaesthesia. 52 (5): 422–427. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2044.1997.090-az0082.x. PMID 9165959. S2CID 22819554.
  21. ^ Kraut JA, Madias NE (December 2014). "Lactic acidosis". The New England Journal of Medicine. 371 (24): 2309–2319. doi:10.1056/NEJMra1309483. PMID 25494270.
  22. ^ Davis H, Jensen T, Johnson A, Knowles P, Meyer R, Rucinsky R, Shafford H (2013). "2013 AAHA/AAFP fluid therapy guidelines for dogs and cats" (PDF). Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. 49 (3): 149–59. doi:10.5326/JAAHA-MS-5868. PMID 23645543.

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